Russian Fairy Tales | Annotated Tale

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Vazuza and Volga

About the Volga and its affluent, the Vazuza, the following story is told:--


VOLGA and Vazuza had a long dispute as to which was the wiser, the stronger, and the more worthy of high respect. They wrangled and wrangled, but neither could gain the mastery in the dispute, so they decided upon the following course:--

                 "Let us lie down together to sleep," they said, "and whichever of us is the first to rise, and the quickest to reach the Caspian Sea, she shall be held to be the wiser of us two, and the stronger and the worthier of respect."

                 So Volga lay down to sleep; down lay Vazuza also. But during the night Vazuza rose silently, fled away from Volga, chose the nearest and the straightest line, and flowed away. When Volga awoke, she set off neither slowly nor hurriedly, but with just befitting speed. At Zubtsof she came up with Vazuza. So threatening was her mien, that Vazuza was frightened, declared herself to be Volga's younger sister, and besought Volga to take her in her arms and bear her to the Caspian Sea. And so to this day Vazuza is the first to awake in the Spring, and then she arouses Volga from her wintry sleep.

               In the Government of Tula a similar tradition is current about the Don and the Shat, both of which flow out of Lake Ivan.

               Lake Ivan had two sons, Shat and Don. Shat, contrary to his father's wishes, wanted to roam abroad, so he set out on his travels, but go whither he would, he could get received nowhere. So, after fruitless wanderings, he returned home.

               But Don, in return for his constant quietness (the river is known as "the quiet Don"), obtained his father's blessing, and he boldly set out on a long journey. On the way, he met a raven, and asked it where it was flying.

               "To the blue sea," answered the raven.

               "Let's go together!"

               Well, they reached the sea. Don thought to himself, "If I dive right through the sea, I shall carry it away with me."

               "Raven!" he said, "do me a service. I am going to plunge into the sea, but do you fly over to the other side and as soon as you reach the opposite shore, give a croak."

               Don plunged into the sea. The raven flew and croaked--but too soon. Don remained just as he appears at the present day. [2]



[1] Afanasief, iv. No. 40. From the Tver Government.

[2] Translated literally from Afanasief, P.V.S. ii. 227.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Vazuza and Volga
Tale Author/Editor: Ralston, William Ralston Shedden
Book Title: Russian Fairy Tales
Book Author/Editor: Ralston, William Ralston Shedden
Publisher: Hurst & Co.
Publication City: New York
Year of Publication: 1873
Country of Origin: Russia
Classification: unclassified

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